Simple Planning Routine

Simple Planning Routine

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Planning is important to me as I’m naturally scatter brained . My way of reigning in the random and refining my thoughts is a simple planning routine I am happy to share today.

At the beginning of the month I take out my planner and my supplies to get started. I gather schedules and list around the house. On my computer, I go to my social media sites and mail to check for dates there. These dates all go into my calendar, paying attention as I work, to dates I may want to highlight as especially important. I no longer color code however. I like to keep it simple so now I use color more esthetically than functionally. It feels more natural to me to work this way. My planner should be pretty but not a time eater in and of itself.

I actually love stickers for scheduling but use them sparingly.  They are fun and motivating but too many stickers distract me.  It’s important to see the details of my day just as easily as the beauty of a sticker decorated spread.

Planning with stickers



On most planning days I get the details down first and then I decorate. When I’m feeling lazy or uninspired however, I use decoration as a tool to motivate myself to plan. After setting up my monthly plan I work on the week. I transfer information from the monthly planning sheet to my weekly spread. In earlier planners I had a daily spread however I found I was wasting too much paper.

A weekly spread is just right for my needs. I take notes on sticky sheets or put them under designated tabs in my planner. The planner pages I’ve used this year have a weekly notes section but I’ll admit to not making much use of it so far.

I’m considering my planner system for 2018 and I’ll likely purchase a separate planner for this blog. Maintaining multiple personal planners can be a recipe for disaster but as one is purely for business I think I can handle that. I’m also thinking of getting a planner for my son so we can plan his days together. I’ll use stickers for his planner. Just a thought… we’ll see.


My current Binder is Cambridge binder likely purchased at Target years ago. I don’t believe it’s available anymore. My husband just happened to have it and it fit the pages I bought.  My planner Pages are FranklinPlanner and My minds Eye Planner Love Botanicals 2017 Weekly pages.  The new 2018 pages which have the same layout but different design are now available at the Franklin Planner Store.

Here’s a list of planner tools I use and sticker shops I’ve used and love incase you want to get started creating your own system:

Paper Organization Series Part Four- Franklin Planner

Paper Organization Series Part Four- Franklin Planner

I love my FranklinPlanner. It’s my favorite planner system. The FranklinPlanner I had last year was the larger classic size. I wanted something smaller for the new year.

I recently switched jobs, I’m working more hours and I haven’t got a lot of space for a large bag. What I needed was something sleek and more portable. Apps are a good back up for paper planning but for me nothing beats writing things down. Devices don’t always work but my planner does!

Planner Love 2017

One concern of mine was that the smaller planner would mean less writing space. Then I looked through last years planner…at all the unused paper! I knew then I was going with the smaller compact size planner.

More Traditional Style Franklin Planner

Year after year I get the traditional style planner pages. Or at least what I consider traditional from Franklin Covey. But this year I went with something different. I’m sure the beauty of the pages drew me in first but beauty is little without function. I’d never tried a weekly layout but I felt seeing my entire week would make it easier to plan and stay organized. I was right!

The planning pages.

My new Franklin Planner of Choice

I love that the task list has its own space. I can jot my stream of consciousness down. Then I can rank tasks right away or I can just pick a task I want to do on that particular day. The flexibility is everything.

I’ve experimented with planner stickers and I have come to really enjoy them. Functional stickers are my favorite but I love them all. I do have to take care as it’s just too easy to spend a fortune on stickers. That being said here are just a few of my favorite Sticker Stores:

  1. Franklin Planner Accessories
  2. MonPetitPlanner
  3. TwoKraftyChicks
  4. StickerSters
  5. DeepThoughtsByJosh

I love how just taking that little extra time to have fun with my planner gets me to plan more! I  also use colorful and pretty pens (glitter pens are my favorite) to write in my planner.

I’ve been a loyal Franklin Planner user for a long time for a reason. The quality and practicality of the planner is everything. I’m happy to see them expand the planner line to incorporate this more modern look.

Later Loves
Paper Organization Series Part three – Binder Organization

Paper Organization Series Part three – Binder Organization

One of the ways I organize important documents in my office is through binder storage. I first came across the idea watching lots of YouTube videos on home organization. I was a housewife at the time and my daily tasks and major concerns centered around household management. Many of the approaches on YouTube seemed to stem from or merge a daily religious practice but you certainly don’t have to. I have my own spiritual practice that doesn’t involve any of my binders.

I have a highly functioning filing cabinet but it’s across the room while my binders are next to me as I sit at my desk. When I was a housewife I used my binders almost daily. Now I’m working outside the home my binders have more weekly and seasonally use.  Household management is just as important to me now as it was when I was a housewife. Perhaps it’s because I know it’s the key to order in my life… order at home. I speak of my office so much because it’s my personal center. If it’s organized, I’m organized. My binders play a large roll in that.

What Binders do you need?

The binders I use stem from my lifestyle and evolve with it. Before my Home Management binder was the most important to me. Now I’m a mother my Mom Binder is most important as it houses so much of Little J’s information. I’d say if you want to start a binder system first look at what is important in your life.  That will help decide what binder you need.

What goes in my binder ?

Once you have a binder you can then consider what papers will help manage your lifestyle consistently. In my Home Makers Journal are papers that help me organize:

  • My weekly cleaning routines
  • My budget
  • Utility contact information
  • Bill Payment
  • Important family records
  • Contact Information
  • Household inventory
  • First Aid Information
  • Seasonal Cleaning Checklist
  • Seasonal Project Lists
  • Future Planning
  • Magazine Clippings of interest

In my Mom Binder I have:

  • Important Dates
  • Baby Sitter Forms
  • Baby Sitter Information
  • Schedules and Routines
  • Parent Education Sheets ( mostly from when Little J was a baby)
  • Education information
  • Medical Records
  • Tot School Ideas
  • Other general Information
  • In the back Pocket I keep clippings from Parents Magazine I enjoyed

You can come up with the forms yourself if you have time. If you don’t know what forms or papers to start with I would look online for free forms first.  Once you know you like the binder system you can find beautiful forms at various Etsy stores.

I keep a binder for my recipes and Tone it Up lifestyle Information also. The recipe binder and mom binder are the most often used. My Home Makers binder is mostly for reference and to remind myself of seasonal to-dos. Binders make a good compliment to my filing cabinet. It’s not necessary to have both however.  Perhaps storing paper in binders works better for you and you don’t feel the need for a filing cabinet or vice versa.

Esthetics in everything is important.  If it’s attractive to you it’s more likely used. That doesn’t have to equal expensive though. I used simple white Avery Binders and dressed them up with pretty papers and well-printed labels.  I did purchase some beautiful checklist for my binder but only a few. I’ve found lots of quality free ones. Don’t underestimate your own creativity either. Have fun with the process and enjoy.


Paper Organization Series Part 2

Paper Organization Series Part 2


Filing can be an overwhelming and stressful job if you let it. Taking things a bit at a time works best for me. That might mean a file drawer at a time or splitting the work over several days. Having a clear filing system is a most helpful way to approach the task.  There are many good filing systems out there but the one I use in our home is the freedom filer system.  This filing system is so clearly thought out I never feel the need to relabel every year. I might add a file or move them around but that’s it. If you want to know more about this system I’ve done a post you can read here.

Beginning one small pile at a time I start the sorting process.  Attaching sticky notes to the smaller piles that label what they are eliminates confusion. I don’t attempt to put them away until I’ve completely finished my stack of papers.

What should I keep?

As you organize you might wonder what to keep and what to toss. I like the guides on the IRS website for a tax guide.  For information on other household files I like this publication found at These are just two examples but there are may available on sites like Pinterest. Choose the one that fits your household best. I also shred as much paper as I can to protect my information and families privacy. It’s best to shred paper throughout the year though. If you don’t you might have a large pile to shred on filing day – a tedious mistake I have made more than once.

Filing cabinet labelling

I like colorful file folders and I use them to color code my files. Using all your files in one color is also a visually appealing way to file. Appearance does matter. If you don’t even like looking at your files you will not get any joy in your approach to the task. I used paint sample cards to label my filing cabinet drawer this year. I just needed a break from the usual white labels.

Little J’s art storage

I had some extra space and decided to file my son’s artwork by year. I just kept his best stuff.

Treats will get you through it. Inspired to clean my son’s toy storage and my bulletin board.

When the job is all done you may find yourself in the mood to sort and clean other areas too. I did need a batch of cookies to get me through it all though.

My organized Space feels warm and cozy even if it’s freezing outdoors.

I’m a happy girl. I have finished organizing the major paper areas in my home.  There are just two more areas I want to share with you; my binder storage and my new Franklin Planner system. Look for those in upcoming posts.

Paper Organization Series Part 1

Paper Organization Series Part 1

I started out by straightening my office. Not cleaning my office mind you. Things just got grouped together and I got surfaces cleaned. My approach to cleaning a room is usually to start in a corner and clean one small area at a time.  This method helps me avoid becoming overwhelmed. I put on a TV show, in this case TURN, and then got started.

Paper Organization / My Desk as my Command Center

I am a fan of this storage because it is portable and easy to revamp when needed. If so inclined you could dress it up too!

This blog post has affiliate links which means if you make a purchase as a result of clicking a link on this page I will receive compensation.  This in no way impacts what your charge for any purchase you make. My opinions are my own and I only become affiliated with brands I enjoy and wish to share with you. If you use these links for your purchase I truly thank you for supporting this blog.

My desk is my personal command center and I decided to begin organizing there. The desk I’m using was previously a sewing desk and it only has one drawer so I use three drawer plastic carts for storage. Two storage carts are on my right, and one on my left. I considered the many types of paper that cross my desk and how I wanted them to move through my command center.

Just as you would likely have at a family command center I have incoming mail and bill pay areas and a method for outgoing mail too.

The office door is closest to the cart on my left.  So my first drawer I left empty. This is my in/out station. Mail coming in stays there until sorting day unless it requires immediate attention. Every Sunday, I will go through the drawers contents and file items appropriately. And, every Sunday I will deposit any outgoing mail. Beneath that is my bill paying drawer.  Mail comes in and bills are immediately dealt with. I have outfitted this drawer with checkbooks, a calculator, pens, a receipt organizer, a book on finance and other financially related items. I can then drop paid bills in the out box above.

The last drawer is a mail drawer also but this is strictly a social affair. Out going mail has its start here. In this space I keep greeting cards, stamps, calligraphy pens, paper and envelopes. Any incoming correspondence I need is kept in the filing cabinet.

I love pretty storage solutions and sometimes purchase them but I also like creative fixes.

Sitting in the middle is the drawer that is a part of my desk. A tea divider from a package I got for Christmas some years back sorts small stationery such as staples and paperclips. This also houses my Franklin Planner, planner pages, planner stickers, batteries and things I don’t want my son to get his hands on too easily. My planner has my schedules and lists. It’s fitting then it is in the center of my command center.

I like separating my pens, markers and highlighters as it saves time when I need something quickly.

On the right I have supplies. Closest to me I put notepads and a drawer below that I have pen storage. The divider boxes are the separation boxes from another product’s packaging. Creativity is helpful when it comes to storage containers as storage can get pricey. My bottom right drawer houses media. Honestly, I would like to have this elsewhere as I rarely touch this stuff but it’s the best place for it for now. There are times as you clean that you learn good enough is sometimes exactly that!

The storage unit farthest from me, holds things I don’t reach for very often. Items like printer paper and gifting supplies. One drawer that’s pretty special though is my comfort drawer. A drawer for those days you just aren’t feeling great and need a pick me up. I’m still in the process of filling it but so far it has cozy socks, yummy dip and Sudoku cards for fun! I keep putting sweets in there but they don’t stick around! I learned the concept from Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach.

Next time I’ll share my organizing methods for the filing cabinet! One tip. I made chocolate chip cookies to help me through the paper sorting process 😉 just saying!

Franklin Planner 2016

Franklin Planner 2016

This blog post has affiliate links which means if you click on a link and buy Franklin Planner I will receive compensation.  This in no way impacts what you are charged for your purchase. My opinions are my own and I only become affiliated with brands I love and want to share with you.

The Franklin Planner is my planner system of choice. My first Franklin planner came with a CD that explained how to use their system to organize my time. The CD no longer comes with their planners, but there is a lot of time management information available on the Franklin Covey website.  I am faithful to the brand because although the look of the planners has undoubtedly become more modern, they stay true to their concepts of time management.

The first time you order a Franklin Planner you buy a binder and pages to go into it. Then you simply order the annual refill for your binder.  Binders range in price from $20 for a small Vinyl binder to $200 for a Leather binder.  Binders are available in various sizes from pocket-size (about 4.5″ W x 6.7″ H x .79″ D) to Monarch (about 11″ W x 13.25″ H x 2″ D”) with  two sizes available in between. Last year I traded in my simulated leather binder for a new grey Pebble Italian Leather binder in the classic size (about 7.25″ W x 9.5″ L x 1.5″ D). The rings on my binder are 0.75″. My previous binder was a zip closure but this one is a snap.


Aside from various styles of binder there are many different styles of planner pages. I previously opted for a weekly layout for my binder in the Her Point Of View Line. This line is gorgeous but I didn’t like the weekly layout as much as I had hoped.  For 2016 I returned to a layout I love and decided to try a new line.  I opted for the Wanderlust Ring Bound Daily Planner.


I chose this for its really nice clean layout. I am really enjoying having a full page on the right for taking notes.  This year instead of just using my planner for daily to do lists and buying a separate gratitude journal I am keeping my daily gratitude journal in my planner.


I purchased some planner stickers and Washi Tape to try the planner decorating trend. I am trying to get the hang of it all but I must say I think I love my Washi Tape even more than the stickers. I am using the Washi Tape to section my planning pages adding further customization that makes the planner uniquely mine. I can see how planner decorating might become addictive. I have already ordered stickers for the next two months. I am looking for simple adds that won’t take daily planning into hour-long endeavors. I just don’t have time for that.


It’s 2016 why not just use an online planner? Well the truth is I have tried but I haven’t been able to find one I like nearly as much as the traditional pen and paper planner. I find them either too limiting or not well enough defined.  The few digital planners I do like mimic the layouts of a traditional planner.  I like the Opus One planner by Pisco 13 but unfortunately this app isn’t available for the iPod or iPad yet.